As Steve Waugh fought a grim battle to stave off defeat in the series-deciding fourth Test in Sydney during the 2003-04 series Down Under, the 19 year-old Parthiv Patel tried to unsettle the veteran batsman through some banter.
The baby-faced Patel egged on the 38-year-old stalwart to play one of his sweep shots one last time. ‘Come on, just one more of the famous slog-sweeps before you finish’ Waugh replied: ‘Look, show a bit of respect. You were in nappies when I debuted 18 years ago’.
For most people that’s the image that comes to mind when one thinks of Parthiv – a young talent who got lost and along the way cost India their chance of winning a Test series Down Under. It was a cruel blow and destroyed the youngster’s confidence completely.
Slowly, he started to work his way back into some kind of rhythm. But for that to happen, the first thing he needed to sort out was his keeping. Under Kiran More and Anshuman Gaekwad, he set about working on the glitches that had hindered his progress.
Then, came the batting, which was a revelation of sorts. When he first made it to the international stage, he was young and he was weak. He had just one shot – guiding the ball behind backward point — that he used to play. But the years spent in Ranji Trophy have made him a bit of a battle-hardened veteran at 26. He now slogs – with disdain — and that has seen him become the opener of the Indian team. Who would have guessed!
“You play the game because you want to turn out in India's colours. That has always been a huge motivation," Parthiv said on the eve of India's first ODI against the West Indies at the Queen's Park Oval. “I received great help from (Kiran) More sir, Anshuman Gaekwad and of course Dhoni.
"It's been beneficial to see how Dhoni goes about his work. The best lesson watching him is to notice how relaxed he is," Parthiv said of India's regular skipper. Looking back at his career, Patel felt it was lapse of concentration than anything else that cost him his career.
"Some said I wasn't receiving the ball well. Others pointed out that I was getting up too soon (while receiving the ball). But I think it was just a lapse of concentration," he said.
But it must be tough being a wicket-keeper in India when you know that the moment Mahendra Singh Dhoni decides to come back, you will be dropped. However, now Parthiv seems much more at ease. He knows what’s expected of him and how to go about doing it.
And that seems to be making a world of difference to him.
With inputs from PTI
Published Date: Jun 06, 2011 08:14 pm | Updated Date: Jun 06, 2011 10:59 pm